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Opinion | ‘Showers and Pants Are So 2019’

Can you sum up the past six months in six words? In a recent Op-Ed, Larry Smith, the creator of the Six Word Memoirs project, observes that times of extremes — “our toughest and most joyous moments” — are often ideal for his brand of succinct storytelling. His collection of pandemic-inspired memoirs, gathered from writers across the country, inspired us to challenge our readers to write theirs too.

The result has been thousands of six-word stories, submitted from people all over the world via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Letters to the Editor and the comments on Mr. Smith’s essay, including one particularly poignant contribution from the author Min Jin Lee: “How will my broken heart mend?

A selection of some of our other favorites follows. And may we offer up: Thank you, readers. Your words resonate.


Zooming through life. Getting nowhere fast.
— Shelly Shalev, Israel

Keeping my calendar with sourdough starter.
— Melanie S. Smith, Boston

Same earrings, six months. Why change?
— Mary Roberts, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Aging in place. Goodbye footloose retirement.
— Cheryl Roosevelt Volmert, Denver

My dad’s last breath, on FaceTime.
— Bob Kirkman, Atlanta

Thank you USPS, for my meds.
— Redge W. Ranyard, Roseburg, Ore.

Gambling every day going to work.
— Louise Jennings, Colorado

Health care workers have no breaks.
— Marybeth Meservey, Boston

Familiar spaces and faces, ever-growing cases.
— Madeline Hall, Washington, D.C.

Give me six feet, above ground.
— Blas Telleria, Boise, Idaho

Yesterday, I’d give you a ride.
— Thomas Stroud, Overland Park, Kan.

Protect grandparents. Save an endangered species.
— Francine Hall, Exeter, N.H.

I’m a cave dweller with Zoom.
— Barbara Moss

I always wanted a small wedding.
— Samantha Kohn, Canada

Takeout for dinner feels super naughty.
— Kavitha Narayan, Plainsboro, N.J.

Showers and pants are so 2019.
— Clara Loon, New York

What to wear to the mailbox?
— Sunny Conley, Arizona

Yes Netflix, I am still watching.
— Kaylyn Lu, New York, N.Y.

Covid, Floyd, fires; I can’t breathe.
— Christine Elbert, New York, N.Y.

Sunless at noon; Covid. Apocalypse now.
— Heather Quinn, San Francisco

Anthony Fauci, the thinking woman’s crush.
— Antonia Thomas, Grove City, Pa.

Left house. Forgot mask. Turned around.
— Max4, Philadelphia

Distance learning: introvert’s dream, extrovert’s nightmare.
— Matt Porter, North Carolina

Sexting lives. Love our bodies. Again.
— Priscilla, Orcutt, Calif.

Learning to smile with my eyes.
— Boni Fine, Chicago

My dog is tired of me.
— Jason Roth, San Mateo, Calif.

Two baby grandsons; too distant grandparents.
— Wayne Woodward, Baltimore

Guilty joy: my college student’s home.
— Jennifer Kernan, Concord, N.H.

Good thing I like my husband!
— Kim Bealle, Darien, Conn.

I miss my mother so much!
— M. Natália Clemente Vieira, South Dartmouth, Mass.

Living alone but I like myself!
— Dudley Gilmer, Banner Elk, N.C.

For sale: spring workwear, never worn.
— Mikell Taylor, Boston

Lets begin the meeting. This —MAMA!
— Ashley Jackson, Seattle

Grand opening canceled. Building for sale.
— Shari Jarvis, Winona, Minn.

Tired of hearing, Mark, you’re muted.
— Mark Lebow, Milwaukee

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Jacob Blake.
— Hannah C., Brooklyn, N.Y.

My world today was unimaginable yesterday.
— Madelyn Weiss, Berkeley, Calif.

My physical world: limited. Thoughts: expansive.
— ANetliner, Washington, D.C.

Graduated college in my living room.
— Emma Garcia

My whole life needs a haircut.
— Paige Kouba, Davis, Calif.

Stayed in, needed less, valued more.
— Observer of the Zeitgeist, Middle America

I now understand my indoor cat.
— David Hirschberg, Medford, Mass.

Hoarded toilet paper. Shoulda been vodka.
— David I. Steinberg, San Francisco

Twenty twenty, the year of invisibility.
— Bonnie S. Priever, Los Angeles

I have misplaced my last marble.
— Alice LaPoint, Florida

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